Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has declared that all those involved in the killing of innocent Ogoni people and residents of Ogoniland will be brought to justice, saying that nobody will be allowed to play politics with the lives of Rivers people.
The governor declared that the military must subject itself to civil authority, pointing out that as Chief Security Officer of Rivers State, he was not informed of the operation that led to loss of innocent lives of Ogoni people and residents of the area.
Following the killings and mayhem that rocked Yeghe and Bori communities in Ogoni earlier in the week, Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has accused some selfish politicians of deliberately instigating crisis in the state to create room for the declaration of a state of emergency.
Governor Wike made the disclosure yesterday when he led the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mr Musa Kimo and top police officers on a fact finding mission to Yeghe community in Gokana Local Government Area, affected communities in Bori and mortuaries where those killed by soldiers were deposited.
At the site visited many bereaved widows, youths, children, widowers and traders at Yeghe and Bori displayed photographs of loved ones killed by soldiers. They also displayed placards condemning the military operation that claimed the lives of their loved ones.
The governor however promised that all those involved in the killing of innocent Ogoni people and residents of Ogoniland will be brought to justice, saying that nobody will be allowed to play politics with the lives of Rivers people.
He urged those who fled their homes to return as his administration has taken measures to check a repeat of the ugly incident.
He said: “the Rivers State Government will take up this unfortunate incident with the appropriate authorities. The military must subject itself to civil authority. I am the chief security officer of this state. Before any deployment of soldiers, I should be informed, but in this case I was not aware.
“I will always support the security agencies in the fight against criminals and criminality, but I will never support the killing of innocent persons. That is why I am here today for an on-the-spot assessment. I have seen for myself the destruction in Yeghe and the killings that took place. I went to the Mortuaries to see the corpses and the relatives of the deceased confirmed they were killed in the operation”.
The governor stated: “I have told security agencies to be careful so that they are not misled by politicians. As your governor, I have never used soldiers because I don’t need them. When I see people not in government moving around with soldiers, I am surprised. If you are popular with your people, you have no reason to move with soldiers. “
While urging the Ogoni people not to take the laws into their hands, Governor Wike said: “all those who masterminded these killings will face justice. They are busy causing crisis because of their evil plan to declare a state of emergency in the state. Since they failed in my case, they will fail in others because God is greater than them”.
Governor Wike noted that he has always advised the military to arrest criminals and hand them over to the police for prosecution in line with the rules of engagement and not to take actions that would harm innocent citizens.
He denied ever making inflammatory statements on the Ogoni political arena, saying that he only campaigned for his political party. According to him, it is within his political right to guide the people on the electoral choice they have to make in the interest of the state.
Governor Wike said that the state government will hold a comprehensive security council meeting on Thursday on the Ogoni security situation.
Meanwhile, some relatives of those who lost their lives at the incident have called on government to come to their rescue. One Bari Zikpo, a retired police officer, told the governor that his first son was killed in the ill-fated operation by the military. He said the operation claimed lives of many others in the town.
In Bori, David Gbarazie informed the governor that he lost his brother to the military operation.
Also in Bori, the Igbo community also informed the community that the military killed some traders in front of their shops. Spokesman for the Igbo traders in Bori, Mr Michael Akuchi said a trader Livinus Nwafor and his brother Kelechi Nwafor were killed by soldiers.